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Sotomayor Rebukes Court Majority For Jeoparding Rights Of Florida Voters

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a forceful rebuke to her colleagues on the Supreme Court Thursday as the majority decided to leave in place a lower court's ruling protecting Florida's effort to disenfranchise nearly 1 million voters.

The Supreme Court had been faced with the prospect of weighing in on a battle over a Florida law requiring people who have been convicted of felonies to pay all related fines to the state before they can vote. In 2018, Florida passed a popular referendum by a large margin permitting people with felonies on their records to participate in elections, but the state government — clearly fearful this change will hurt Republican officeholders — tried to find a loophole. So the new rule puts another hurdle in place for people who have committed felonies to jump over before they can register to vote.

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Sotomayor: Supreme Court Excused Trump’s Bigotry In DACA Decision

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Many immigrants and their advocates won a major victory on Thursday when the Supreme Court issued an opinion, drafted by Chief Justice John Roberts, blocking the Trump administration's efforts to rescind a program protecting undocumented people who arrived in the United States before they were adults. But Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from one part of Roberts' majority ruling, even as she and the other three liberal justices concurred with the chief justice for the bulk of the decision.

The case examined the Trump administration's decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that was implemented under President Barack Obama. In a split 5-4 decision, the majority of the court found that the Department of Homeland Security gave an insufficient rationale for rescinding DACA and determined that the decision was impermissibly "arbitrary and capricious." The Trump administration may still be able to end the program, but it will have to go through a thorough review process before it tries again.

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In Fiery Dissent, Sotomayor Rebukes Right-Wing Justices For Fealty To Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a devastating conclusion to a dissenting opinion released Friday, drawing attention to her conservative colleagues’ callousness toward inmates facing the death penalty and contrasting it with their excessive fealty to President Donald Trump.

Her dissent broke from the court’s decision to grant the Trump administration a stay in the case of Wolf v. Cook County. In the case, a lower court had issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation in Illinois of Trump’s new “public charge” rule, which places restrictions on immigrants who it believes might use certain government services. Last week, the Trump administration had asked the Supreme Court to overturn the injunction and issue a stay to allow the rule to go into effect while the legal challenges continue.

The five conservative justices ruled in favor of the stay, while the liberal justices — including Sotomayor — opposed it.

But, as Economist reporter Steven Mazie pointed out, Sotomayor was the only one to write a formal dissent — and it included strong words for the conservatives.

She argued that “this Court is partly to blame for the breakdown in the appellate process. That is because the Court—in this case, the New York cases, and many others—has been all too quick to grant the Government’s ‘reflexiv[e]’ requests.”

She continued:

Perhaps most troublingly, the Court’s recent behavior on stay applications has benefited one litigant over all others. This Court often permits executions—where the risk of irreparable harm is the loss of life—to proceed, justifying many of those decisions on purported failures “to raise any potentially meritorious claims in a timely manner.”

Yet the Court’s concerns over quick decisions wither when prodded by the Government in far less compelling circumstances— where the Government itself chose to wait to seek relief, and where its claimed harm is continuation of a 20-year status quo in one State. I fear that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decisionmaking process that this Court must strive to protect.

In other words, she accused the conservative majority on the court of too easily dismissing the plight of people on death row, while jumping at the chance to do relatively trivial favors for the administration.

“A remarkable accusation for a justice to lob against her colleagues,” noted Slate reporter Mark Joseph Stern. “And tragically accurate.”

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Danziger: The Rookie

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.